June 15, 2013 |
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that human genes cannot be patented unless they are changed into something not found in nature after being extracted from the body. The much-watched case, with University of Pennsylvania researchers as original plaintiffs, had prompted real-world questions from Supreme Court justices in April's oral arguments about what is natural and what is invented. Justice Sonia Sotomayor suggested that a distinct recipe for chocolate chip cookies might be worthy of a patent, but not naturally occurring ingredients.
June 14, 2013 |
TRENTON - In a decision with broad implications for child protective services in New Jersey, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that authorities can seek custody of a child even in the absence of abuse or neglect. The court, in a unanimous 47-page opinion stemming from the case of Camden County twins who were taken from their mother in 2007, found ample legal grounds for granting custody in cases in which parents seemed incapable of properly caring for children despite their best efforts.
June 11, 2013 |
Santos Cruz says he has waited "in limbo" for 13 years as Mount Holly officials moved forward with plans to demolish his rowhouse and the rest of the 330 homes in his impoverished neighborhood to make room for a market-rate housing development. "We have to wake up every day with the feeling, is today going to be the day they declare eminent domain and start taking our properties?" he said. The U.S. Supreme Court may have some answers for Cruz and the 24 remaining homeowners as early as Thursday, when it is expected to announce whether it will take up the case.
June 9, 2013 |
The state Supreme Court on Friday denied Mayor Nutter's request to hear arguments on whether the city should be allowed to impose a contract on 6,800 municipal workers represented by AFSCME District Council 33. The city filed suit in Common Pleas Court in February seeking to impose terms on its blue-collar workers. The proposal includes modest raises, potential furloughs, reduced overtime, and a new pension model for future employees. D.C. 33 employees, along with their white-collar counterparts in District Council 47, have been working without a new contract for nearly four years.
May 30, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has adopted the first set of statewide policies, procedures, and standards of conduct for elected constables who serve civil papers, transport prisoners, and do other work for local courts, Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille said Tuesday. The rules, the product of more than two years of work by a group that included judges, court officials, and constables, are a critical step toward reining in a system that detractors say has long lacked standards in such areas as qualifications and professionalism, the chief justice said.
May 23, 2013 |
The smattering of city voters who went to the polls for Tuesday's primary picked 12 would-be judges, including three potential new members of Traffic Court, an institution so steeped in corruption that state lawmakers are trying to abolish it. At the top of the judicial ticket, voters selected candidates for six open seats on Common Pleas Court and three open seats on Municipal Court. In Philadelphia, a city with a mammoth Democratic majority and a powerful party organization, the Democratic primary winners are near-locks to assume the bench.
May 22, 2013 |
BOB BRADY was angry. It was Election Day, and the congressman and Democratic boss was sitting in his 34th Ward office, in Overbrook. He just got his hands on a sample ballot being distributed by a ward leader who ignored the party's endorsements and was pushing his own ticket. "It's a pure money ballot," said Brady, meaning that the ward leader, whom he wouldn't name, took money from candidates who didn't get the party nod but needed help. "It's a disgrace. " With record-low turnouts forecast for yesterday's primary, a few rogue ward leaders could cost the party a few judges.
May 21, 2013
U.S.: Retaliation in 'Fast-Furious' WASHINGTON - The U.S. attorney in Arizona violated Justice Department policy by providing Fox News with information apparently aimed at undercutting the credibility of a federal agent who helped reveal the botched arms-trafficking probe called "Operation Fast and Furious," the Justice Department's inspector general said Monday. There was substantial evidence in the 2011 incident that then-U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke's motive for disclosing a memo by federal agent John Dodson was retaliation, the inspector general's report said.
May 19, 2013 |
ATLANTIC CITY - In an unusually pointed response to Gov. Christie's frequent excoriation of the judiciary, state Supreme Court Justice Barry T. Albin asserted in a speech Friday that politicians' criticism of judicial decisions undermines democracy and weakens public confidence in the court. Albin, whom Christie has criticized by name, was the lead speaker at a New Jersey State Bar Association panel on judicial independence. Open criticism of judges' decisions could cause others to fear for their careers and undercut the ability of jurists throughout the system to render impartial judgments, he said.
May 13, 2013 |
The Supreme Court needs to decide whether an inherited individual retirement account is protected from the claims of creditors in bankruptcy because U.S. circuit courts of appeal are now divided on the issue. Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, on the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, disagreed last month with an opinion last year from the Fifth Circuit appeals court in New Orleans. Easterbrook concluded that inherited IRAs are not exempt in bankruptcy. An IRA funded by someone's own contributions is immune from creditors' claims in bankruptcy.